Monday, April 26, 2010

Visit to an Art Museum

           "Girl on a Swing" by Anton Romako
 (photo was snapped from a post card purchased in the museum gift shop)

Walking through the rooms of an art museum fills one with a sense of amazement, awe, and wonder.

On a recent day trip to Northampton, MA, a dear friend and I visited the Smith College Museum of Art.
One painting on exhibit there stood out. It was by the Austrian artist Anton Romako (1832 - 1889). Titled "Girl on a Swing," it shows a young girl in white dress with a blue sash. She has long white stockings on and black high button shoes. Her hat lies nearby on the ground near a pink rose bush. She has long reddish brown hair, pulled back from her face.

The little girl's face looks pensive. She has dark eyes and sweet lips that are not engaged in a big smile. 

Unfamiliar with the artist, I researched a bit at home to find out more about him. His life and its circumstances were quite tragic. He was born the illigitimate son of a factory owner and housemaid.  According to data written on him, Romako studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. One teacher, however, labeled him "untalented."

Thank goodness the artist didn't take the teacher's opinion to heart because he continued to study art  in Munich, Venice, Rome, and London. He became quite proficient as a landscape and portrait artist. His paintings, to me, a non-artist, are beautifully and intricately done.

The artist married. He and his wife, Sophie, had five children.  Tragically, she eventually left him for a lover.  Two of Romako's daughters commited suicide in the same year, 1887, according to written accounts of his life. He apparently never recovered from the double tragedy.

Anton Romako died in neglect and povery in 1889, at 57 years of age.

Given that sad background, the painting of the Little Girl on a Swing became much more meaningful to me. It's bittersweet and wrought with nostalgia. I couldn't help but wonder if the little girl on the swing was one of the artist's own little daughters. Guess I will never really know.


Today marks the selection of this blog's winner of the 200th post Giveaway. See previous post for details. It was actually posted after midnight but still has the Sunday, April 25 date. Karen Lange of Write Now was the winner.


Karen Lange said...

I like the innocence and serenity of this painting. I love this style of art (or whatever you would call it!:) Thanks for sharing it with us, Susan. Thanks again for the giveaway; I am excited to be the winner!

diane stetson said...

Beautiful painting...I LOVED to swing when I was a little girl. I sang and sang while I went up and down in the air...this painting brought back lovely memories for me. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

THe painting on it's own is beautiful...well done technically and feeling and emotion seem to be captured as well....

then you speak of the artist's background and the painting takes on a new life, and spills over with a calm sadness...

what a great, captivating post, Susan!
well done!

ciao bella
creative carmelina was here!!!!!

Chatty Crone said...

Okay I see the girl - trying to put on a brave front that she has been told to have - but behind her eyes she shows her true feeling - she is sad and is covering it up. You can tell the artist had tragedy in his life.


Andrea said...

The second that I saw that painting, I exclaimed, "OH!" It is gorgeous! I love painting like this. I"m not into all art, but I love anything that is romantic, sweet and pretty.
What a treat to share in your trip to the museum.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

While she looks like someone takes good care of her, there's a sadness in her eyes. Even though the artist died young, he left a part of himself in his work.


LDH said...

Little girls on swings are always so sweet! I remember the swing set my dad built and how we all played on it all the time. Thanks for posting this precious art piece!

Susan said...

Hello Everyone! Loved reading your comments about "Girl on a Swing." May the artist and all his family rest in sweet peace in the other realm of life.

In the meantime, his lovely paintings are his legacy to this world. We must all leave something of value behind, don't you think? Come again soon, okay? Love it when you visit. Sincerely, Susan

T's Daily Treasures said...

So sad and lovely at the same time. History is always captivating. Wishing you a terrific Tuesday. :) Tammy

Susan said...

Hi Tammy...Hope your Tuesday is terrific, too! Sincerely, Susan

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